The National Republican Senatorial Committee, a group tasked with getting Republicans elected to the Senate, believes Republicans have expanded the 2014 playing field with five more contested races as the GOP seeks to retake control of the chamber.
In a memo released to consultants Friday morning, NRSC political director Ward Baker writes that Republicans have become competitive in Colorado, New Hampshire, Virginia, Oregon and Minnesota since the start of the year.
Yeah, I know. Fine: replace ‘NRSC’ with ‘Moe Lane’ and pretend that I asked the original question. Because I’d like to know the answer, too:
The NRSC pulled the official payroll records for Democrat Senator offices and calculated the average pay for men and women for the most recent 6 month period available. Here’s what we found:
· Mark Udall pays women 91 cents for every dollar that a man makes.
· Mary Landrieu pays women 88 cents for every dollar that a man makes.
· Mark Begich pays women 82 cents for every dollar that a man makes.
· Mark Warner pays women 75 cents for every dollar that a man makes.
· Gary Peters pays women 67 cents for every dollar that a man makes.
On average, these five Democrats on the ballot in battleground states pay women in their office 80 cents for every dollar made by a male employee.
Over the last day or so there has been a fair amount of debate about whether or not Mark Levin should have disclosed a fairly consistently large purchase history by the Senate Conservatives Fund (SCF) of his book before he endorsed the organization. The ire is mostly directed at National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) Brad Dayspring, Communications Director, for tweeting this Thursday:
Fishy: Senate Conservatives Fund spent hundreds of thousands of donor dollars to make Mark Levin’s book a bestseller http://t.co/8VXaUrisJf
— Brad Dayspring (@BDayspring) January 9, 2014
No doubt if Mark Levin responds to this post, he will point out that I’m unforgivably not appropriately famous, but: I feel that I must not only concur with Brad Dayspring that some disclosure may have been appropriate (although ‘fishy’ was probably, ah, too confrontational), but I must also disagree with Erick that there is a reductio ad absurdum argument requiring the NRSC to acknowledge their connection to k*i*d*d*i*e p*o*r*n (I ain’t about to link the two in Google searches).
Let’s start with the facts. I’m presenting these facts with no opinions on meanings, or assumptions. These are simply the undisputed facts as I have found them.
- SCF has spent $427,006 on purchases of books by Mark Levin since September 10, 2013.
- Mark Levin has promoted the SCF both on his show and on Twitter/Facebook multiple times during that same period.
So, taken together: what do these two facts mean? Given Levin’s character/beliefs/ideologies, and given SCF’s penchant for wanting to provide conservative materials and books at events or as gifts… very likely, nothing at all. Like-minded individuals and groups tend to like, buy, and talk about the same things. However, disclosures are not intended to explain why an inappropriate relationship is just Jim-dandy. Disclosures are intended to avoid even the appearance of impropriety by making sure that everyone knows existing relationships. In fact, disclosures exist precisely to prevent anyone from believing the relationship is inappropriate. It is not even mildly offensive to expect someone to do this: it is simply a good and ethical practice.
However, it is also an annoying practice, which is why people find it at best a chore, and worst a minefield.
Consider this scenario: you are, say, a video producer and you have clients. You’re also a writer. That means that you’re often in the position of having the opportunity to write about a video you’ve made for a client. The temptation is to give a glowing report on the video you’ve made (as you’re often in complete agreement with whatever the video says) without mentioning that you were paid to make it. The problem is – like it or not, – this automatically causes some people to doubt the veracity of your endorsement. It’s not always fair, but it is understandable. At this point, you have a somewhat annoying choice: get someone else not financially tied to it to write their thoughts, or else write it yourself and provide a disclosure.
And if you do the former, you will still get the inevitable comments from people to the effect of “Oh? You like the video you were PAID TO MAKE? SELLOUT SCUMBAG!!!!!”
We live in a world where the SCF and Mark Levin largely agree with each other on political issues. We also live in a world where Politico’s Chief White House Correspondent quietly embeds advertisements in what appears to be news. In both cases, when money changes hands, it’s just better to go ahead and let everyone know, Hey, I love X, Y, and Z: and I would even if we didn’t have a relationship that involved money. People don’t like to feel tricked. They like to know when they are being targeted by an ad. If they aren’t – but you could still see how someone else might think otherwise – well, it’s best to let everyone know that’s not what is happening. It’s not that hard, and it’s not asking that much.
On Erick’s take that Dayspring’s opinion warrants airing of any and all relationships of his own, I think that said take fails the fallacy test. I don’t think anyone was suggesting that Levin disclose all relationships he has with anyone for any reason, prior to mentioning them. This was about a specific disclosure of financial relationship. So I guess all this is to say that I don’t really have a problem with Brad Dayspring’s take on Levin’s non-disclosure**.
I suppose my advice to both parties would be this: to Mr. Levin, I would (humbly, and non-famously suggest) that a quick acknowledgement that the SCF is a great customer (in addition to being a great ally) is not the worst thing in the world. To Mr. Dayspring, I’d suggest that he may want to consider modifying histTwitter opinions to sound less confrontational and more conversational. Maybe saying “should’ve disclosed,” as opposed to “fishy” (which carries an tone of indictment)?
Now, if everyone could get back to hating each other for completely different reasons, that would be great. Or, here’s a radical thought: go smack around the Democrats. They’re always worth smacking around.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*I promise you, Mark Levin’s publisher would have made him aware of an Amazon purchase of several hundred thousand dollars.
**Full disclosure: RedState has had a bit of a problem with Brad’s takes on a bunch of other stuff.
Nothing about the primaries; nothing to tick off the grassroots or the Establishment – or your Aunt Sadie, for all I know. Just a nice, simple shackling of Democratic Senators to President Barack Obama and a cheery wave as the anchor chain starts unspooling into the deep water.
And lo! Easily embeddable, all across the Internet. This is an excellent use of the NRSC’s resources: when people yell at them in comments anyway, at least try to mention that so that they’ll understand to do more of the things that you like.
PS: It is showing up on my Firefox just fine; but in case somebody is having issues, here’s the direct link.
Just a link-free, quick observation: while I expect the House to not shift too much over the next few cycles (we will pick up some seats in 2014, probably, and lose some seats in 2016, probably*), I AM expecting a fairly large shakeup in the Senate in 2014, 2016, and 2018. Why? Simple: in 2008 and 2010 we had somewhat drastic swings in Senate representation, and a slightly drastic one in 2006. That means that 2014 and 2016 will have a good number of freshmen Senators being checked for the first time; and while the 2018 election will have less freshmen to be tested, some of the Democrats that did survive last cycle shouldn’t have.
So it should be brisk business for the the NRSC and DSCC for the next six years or so.
That’s it. And that’s a guess, honestly.
*And that will have no link whatsoever to whoever wins the Presidential election.
Interesting. Below are the latest (just before the election) Debt and CoH (Cash on Hand) totals for the various committees:
Excellent news, if true: former governor Lingle was popular for most of her two terms in office (term limits prevented her from running for a third term in 2010). Some heavily partisan Democrats trumpeted some heavily partisan Democratic polling earlier in the year in an apparent attempt to keep her out of next year’s race; it’s apparently backfired.
This does not necessarily translate to ‘Lingle is a shoo-in.’ The state is reliably Blue these days; it’s one of the few places where the Republican party did unambiguously worse in the 2010 elections (loss of the governorship, a House seat*, and losses in both houses of the state legislature). How bad is it, in fact? Well, let me put it this way: meet Sam Slom, otherwise known as the Hawaiian Republican Senate caucus. The retirement of Sen. Akaka is likewise going to attract a lot of Democratic hopefuls; Hawaii has an institutional tendency to keep re-electing incumbents once they’re in office, which means that anybody getting that Senate seat can reasonably expect it to hold it for a while – even by US Senate standards.
The Wall Street Journal aptly sums up in one sentence the reason why this relatively obscure bit of news is spreading rapidly along the right side of the blogosphere: “Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina will help Senate Republicans raise money ahead of next year’s election to do what she couldn’t in the last one: win seats held by Democrats.”
As to the merits of hiring her; if Fiorina’s being brought in just to help with bringing in big-donor fundraisers, that’s actually not a bad call – although the fifteen million that the WSJ reports that she brought in against Boxer last term is sorta-kinda contradicted by this Hill article, which gives as a not-self-funded number something more like eleven, twelve million. Either way, the NRSC’s showing a current 1.7 million cash on hand (and no debt) to the DSCC’s 7.8 million (and 3.8 million debt); like everybody else out there right now, the committee kind of needs good fund-raisers.
The real question, though, is whether or not this hiring is strictly financial. There’s some deeply skeptical people out there who are right now wondering whether this move has anything to do with Senate Minority Leader McConnell’s boneheaded one regarding the debt ceiling…
Charlie Cook is bearish on the thought of the GOP retaking the Senate this year – which, I should note, is a large step up from, say January 2009: back then they were talking about how the Democrats might increase their existing majority in 2010. Charlie sets up the current situation as follows:
Three open seats currently in the hands of Democrats seem pretty likely to end up in the Republican column this year. Sen. Byron Dorgan’s seat in North Dakota is a goner. Democrats have strong candidates in Delaware (Chris Coons) and Indiana (Rep. Brad Ellsworth), but the strength of the opposition in the former and the toughness of the state in the latter means these Democrats, who might have won under other circumstances, are likely to come up short this time. Watch for both to resurface.
To score a net gain of 10 seats, Republicans would also have to sweep the seven Democratic seats that the Cook Political Report rates as Toss-Ups, taking open seats in Illinois and Pennsylvania and defeating incumbent Sens. Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas, Barbara Boxer in California, Michael Bennet in Colorado, Harry Reid in Nevada and Patty Murray in Washington. If the GOP came up short in one of those, they would have to make it up by carrying one of the two additional vulnerable Democratic races, claiming the open seat in Connecticut or beating Wisconsin incumbent Russell Feingold. Both of those races are competitive as well.
Here’s the basic problem. Pick any one of those races listed above, and you can see how the Republican can win. The trick is winning all of them, or at least ten of them* – statistically speaking, that’s a bit of a stretch. Said stretch is modified by the fact that the results are not really dictated by random chance, but even so we’ll still have to count on everything breaking our way. (more…)
I’m sure that the Democrats are kicking themselves right now:
The South Dakota Republican — who also leads the Senate GOP Policy Committee and is widely viewed as a 2012 presidential contender —is up for re-election this year. But no Democrat or Independent filed to run against him, leaving him with plenty of time and money to help Republicans win seats this November as the party seeks to regain a true sense of relevancy on Capitol Hill.
National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) said Thursday he planned to meet with Thune soon to explore ways the up-and-coming first-term Senator could help the NRSC and GOP candidates from now until Election Day. Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) added that he fully expects Thune to be a strong political asset over the next 135 days.
Senator Thune is, after all, possessed of a dangerous combination: he’s able, popular, and not particularly busy this electoral cycle. Two out of three would be a net gain for the GOP’s 2010 electoral campaigns; three out of three is very welcome news. And since the DSCC’s recruiting program so spectacularly fell down on the job here*, you can even say that this bit of good fortune is ultimately due to the Democrats…
Moe Lane (more…)
This is good news…
Gov. Charlie Crist told MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough on April 30 that he would “probably” give refunds to donors who don’t approve of him leaving the GOP. Some donors to his U.S. Senate campaign were told before the switch that they would get their money back or pro-rated refunds.
No more. A couple of hours before Crist officially becomes an NPA voter, campaign spokeswoman Michelle Todd said there will be no refunds. Asked whether that amounts to a flip-flop, she said, “We have never made an official statement before. It is now the official statement. They donated to the Charlie Crist for U.S. Senate Campaign, and it’s still the Charlie Crist for U.S. Senate Campaign.”
…for three reasons: (more…)
The DSCC is spending a significant amount of money to ensure a former GOP Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) wins his May 18 primary, sources with knowledge of the move tell Hotline OnCall.
One source said the DSCC is using coordinated funds to help Specter keep a robust TV presence. Ads that tout Specter’s candidacy now say they are paid for by the DSCC; last week, the disclaimers on the same ads indicated Specter’s campaign had paid for them.